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Aromatherapy for stress and anxiety

Discover the benefits of essential oils to aid relaxation

Aromatherapy for stress and anxiety

WORDS Elizabeth Burchill

Aromatherapy has been used for centuries as a tool to treat mind, body and spirit. Our ancestors recognised the powerful effects of aromatic oils on our health. And as modern life has become increasingly hectic and stressful, the popularity of essential oils has soared. Today, these concentrated plant essences are used therapeutically to enhance our wellbeing.

The easiest and safest ways to utilise essential oils at home are via inhalation and skin absorption. Keep in mind that no two oils are the same, as they each have different therapeutic properties and chemistry which can stimulate, relax, sedate or balance and more. So it's always worth doing a little research to select the correct oils to suit your requirements. Often people are drawn to the oils that they need.

Essential oils contain elements that affect the nervous system and are capable of reducing anxiety and inducing relaxation and a sense of calm. Oils can easily be incorporated into your lifestyle and with their ability to soothe both mind and body, they are very beneficial in tackling stress and insomnia.

5 essential oils for stress and insomnia


One of the best stress releasing oils there is, Neroli has an exquisite aroma and is exceptionally calming and uplifting. It is perfect for chronic stress and tension. It can act as an anti-depressant; it reduces anxiety and its sedative qualities encourage a restful night’s sleep. A very peaceful oil and a wonderful natural remedy for insomnia, worry and tension.


Instantly calming, this ancient oil relieves stress, anxiety and nervous tension. It’s great to use during stressful periods to relieve high anxiety as it deepens breathing and stills the mind. It makes a wonderful meditation oil as it helps to focus as well as relax. Frankincense calms and uplifts beautifully. Historically, it was used in religious and spiritual rituals and during times of transition.


Balancing, relaxing and restorative, this oil has multiple properties and is well known for combating insomnia and reducing stress. It is an amazing oil for calming the nervous system and will soothe in times of mental over activity. Lavender promotes harmony and encourages recuperation. This oil is excellent for treating insomnia, especially when caused by stress and anxiety.


A gorgeous green, fruity aroma and an oil with several therapeutic properties, Bergamot will both uplift and relax. It acts as an antidepressant; it helps to rebalance our moods. Bergamot is a lovely oil for addressing stress, tension, irritability, anxiety and poor sleep.

Roman chamomile

A sweet, sunny oil with a gentle aroma which is perfect for dealing with anxiety, irritability and stress related conditions such as skin issues. Its sedative qualities make it a fantastic choice for dealing with insomnia.

How to use essential oils

–Aromatherapy candles are a wonderful addition to a home. Light a candle, inhale the aroma and relax.

–Diffusers will scent your home beautifully. Use them for 30-60 minutes – less is more when using essential oils.

–Add a drop or two to a tissue and inhale.

–Scatter a couple of drops onto your pillow before you go to sleep.

–Add 3-5 drops of essential oil to a tablespoon of carrier oil, such as grapeseed or jojoba and add to a warm bath.

–Add a couple of drops to two tablespoons of carrier oil and massage into your feet or belly before you go to sleep. You could also massage into muscles to release tension caused by stress.

–Apply a pulse point oil to wrists and palms, and inhale.

–Never ingest essential oils. Always dilute in a carrier oil before external use.

Elizabeth Burchill is a Clinical Aromatherapist and founder of B Loved Candles.